I think I’ll just try to make more money

I frequently try to curb my spending with moderate success. I feel a little ridiculous because I remember living comfortably on less than $1,500 per month as a student, and now making way more than that I can’t find spending to cut.

Know why? Because cutting spending sucks.

Do you want to do it? Because I don’t want to do it. If anything I would like to have more disposable income to throw around. Frankly, I wish I had so much money I didn’t even have to think about my spending. I wish I could buy more new clothes, more make up, get massages twice per month instead of once, get my hair blown-out every weekend, hire a housekeeper, buy a Mini Cooper, live in a swank condo or loft, and travel more often. Is that greedy? Ok yes it is, but I’m being honest here. Don’t pretend you don’t want some ridiculously luxurious things too!

I know I cannot have all of those things, or at least I can’t have all of those things at one time. I have to make choices and set priorities, and one of my main priorities are getting rid of my debt. Once that’s gone I can probably knock a few more items off that list. In the meantime, I’m not in the mood to cut any more out of my budget. Instead, I think I’ll just try to make more money.

I also think you should try to make more money.

This has been said before and more eloquently by other personal finance writers, but the reality stands that we can only cut so much from our budgets. We can move into smaller, cheaper homes but we still need to have a home. We can eat less expensive meals, but we still need to eat. We can buy cheaper and less clothing, but we still need to buy clothing. The list goes on.

There’s a limit to what you can cut from your budget, but there’s no limit to what you can earn.

Well, ok, the limit is how much you’re willing to work for. There will be a point where quality of life takes precedence over earning more money, but that doesn’t mean right now you can’t make a little bit of an effort to earn just a bit more money. I’ve found that I can keep things in my budget if I earn the money to cover them. If I want a new shirt that costs $30, I find it a lot less painful to tutor for 1 hour to earn the money rather than attempt to cut my grocery bill by $30. As you know, I’m also partial to selling things when I want to purchase a big-ticket items. And I’ve found one of the easiest (read: least stress-inducing) ways for me to increase the money in my brokerage account is to buy stocks that pay regular dividends.

I have a very lofty income goal for 2012, that I foolishly set without doing any math. Consequently I’m behind schedule, but I’m not ready to give up just yet — it’s not over until it’s over! I’m going to try to earn more money in 2012, so I DON’T have to cut any more out of my budget.

Net Worth and Income Goals for 2012

Now that I’m a grown-up, full-time career girl, I feel like it’s time to start setting some income goals.

I have a number in mind for my goal gross income for 2012 but I’m still trying to figure out if it’s unrealistic or not. My salary at work is fixed, so that’s pretty straightforward. I’m bringing in some regular additional income tutoring, and freelance writing opportunities are coming up which is awesome, but difficult to estimate how lucrative they’ll actually be. Investment income is increasing, but I think it will be years before it generates anything truly substantial. All in all, I have a lot going on that make the number in my head possible, but I hate the idea of failing SOVERYMUCH I feel a great mix of terror with all this excitement =p

Nevertheless, I’ve come up with a figure, and I’ll be tracking my gross income in that context from now on. I’ll try to share my progress, and then maybe do a big reveal at the end of the year if I make it — but if I don’t make it, we’ll all just pretend none of this ever happened and I will tell none of you about the days I will spend crying in my bedroom in defeat. If I come up something menial like $500 short I will lose my mind with frustration — it’d be worse than being $5,000 short!

As for net worth, my plan is to cut my student loan in half and max out this year’s TFSA contributions. This will result in about a $15,000 net worth increase. I’m going to go ahead and get super ambitious and say I plan to increase my net worth by $25,000 in 2012. I decided this before it occurred to me that I’m planning a very expensive vacation to Africa in July. That kind of scared me because if I’m going to go on a ~$5,000 vacation AND increase my net worth by $25,000 that means I really have to account for $30,000. So I’m hyperventilating a bit, but I still think this is possible! I STILL BELIEVE IN ME! (that was said in a triumphant, passionate, I-can-do-anything voice, preferably while standing on a chair, in a room of bewildered strangers).

Because of the trip, I’m going to go soft on myself for the Net Worth goal and not spend days crying in my room if I fail. I mean, if I boost my net worth by $20,000 it’s still going to be amazing. Maybe the stock market will undergo rapid recovery and growth, and take some of the pressure off me…

I will make charts and maybe a tab at the top there to track this (update: HERE THEY ARE!), and all of you may encourage or mock me at your leisure. 2012 is my money year!